High School Counselor Week

Weekly stories, facts, trends, and other information from around the country


May 25, 2023

Big Picture

With affirmative action on the line, colleges consider changes to the admissions process
NBC News – May 24, 2023
A Supreme Court ruling that could eradicate race-conscious college admissions has some schools looking for new ways to maintain or increase diversity among students.

About 75% of students want to attend college — but far fewer expect to actually go
Higher Ed Dive – May 22, 2023
While nearly three-quarters of the high school class of 2023 aspired to attend college, a lesser share, two-thirds, actually expected to enroll, according to a new survey from nonprofit YouthTruth. These gaps worsened for certain groups — 58% of American Indian, Alaska Native, or Indigenous students, for instance, wanted to pursue a college education, but only 44% said they think they’ll attend.

Columns and Blogs

Community Colleges and a One-Course Certificate? Perfetta!
Post – May 24, 2023
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D.

Top 5 College Application Tasks for the Summer Before Senior Year
Post – May 24, 2023
College Advice & Timely Tips with Lee Bierer


Schools Can Help Students With End-of-the-Year Stress. Here Are 4 Strategies
Education Week – May 24, 2023
The end of the school year is generally regarded as a time to celebrate. But for many students, it’s a period of high stress as they study for and take high-stakes exams. For others, it’s a period of imminent change, whether they’re making the jump from middle to high school or graduating, which can be both exciting and scary. The close of this school year comes at a time when schools are wrestling with students’ increased mental health needs, exacerbated by the pandemic. While there’s much long-term work to do to improve students’ mental health supports, there are smaller things educators can do now. In interviews with EdWeek, a representative from the JED Foundation (a national nonprofit that focuses on suicide prevention and improving youth mental health), a school counselor, and a high school senior who’s established herself as a mental health advocate, laid out some small, but impactful, things schools and districts can do in the coming weeks to support students and help them navigate what can be a stressful time.

Teachers Say Improving Students’ Mental Well-Being Begins at Home
Education Week – May 23, 2023
Education leaders and policymakers have been trying a smorgasbord of approaches to address students’ deteriorating mental health. School districts have hired new mental health support staff and invested heavily in social-emotional learning with federal COVID-relief aid. Some school districts have gone so far as to sue social media companies to make them pay for the increasing amount of mental health services they are providing to students. And some states and districts have created mental health days, which allow students to take an excused absence to miss school. But what about parents? How do they factor into this equation? Should schools be doing more to help parents support their kids’ mental health needs? A resounding yes, according to teachers, according to a survey by the EdWeek Research Center. So, what can schools do to better support parents? Ashley Wright, a school counselor in Conroe, Texas, and a former teacher, has some ideas for school and district leaders.

I Can’t Believe I Have To Say This, But Letting Chaplains Be School Counselors Is a Terrible Idea, Texas
We Are Teachers – May 19, 2023
I am a lifelong Texan. Despite its serious and glaring flaws, I love my state. When you move past the fancy boys in the capital, Texas is filled with mostly wonderful people…I am also a Christian, though I am often deeply frustrated with my Christian peers. Finally, I am also a former public school teacher and spent my career in two different districts in Houston. I’ve seen the problems in our schools up close, way closer than pretty much anyone in the capitol would dare to toe their precious Luccheses. And I cannot believe that I’m having to write about why Texas’ recent passing of a bill allowing chaplains to serve as school counselors is such a terrible idea. But even if I can’t believe it, I’m at least very qualified to offer the following critique on a decision made in Texas to put ‘more God’ in schools, including some very specific reasons why letting chaplains be school counselors is a bad idea:

Admissions Process & Strategy

Common App vs. Coalition App: Which Application Platform Should You Choose?
Digital Journal – May 22, 2023
Hey there, college-bound students! As you embark on your exciting journey of applying to colleges, one crucial decision awaits you: choosing the right application platform. In this blog post, we’ll dive into a detailed comparison of two popular options: the Common App and the Coalition App. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of their features, pros, cons and which one might suit you best.

The Newest College Admissions Ploy: Paying to Make Your Teen a ‘Peer-Reviewed’ Author
ProPublica – May 18, 2023
A group of services, often connected to pricey college counselors, has arisen to help high schoolers carry out and publish research as a credential for their college applications. The research papers — and the publications — can be dubious.

The Four Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a College Admissions Counselor
LifeHacker – May 18, 2023
The pressure to get into a good college is strong, but the process doesn’t have to be more expensive than it already it is. You’re already paying application fees, fees to request old transcripts, fees for a standardized test tutor, or fees for who-knows-what else. Before you shell out for a college counselor or consultant, too, consider that you can most likely do this on your own for free. Ask yourself the following questions:

Financial Aid/Scholarships

For-profit schools may soon face tougher employment rules to get financial aid funds
Yahoo! Finance – May 23, 2023
For-profit schools may soon need to prove their programs lead to better employment opportunities for their graduates under new proposed rules from the Education Department. The rules would require schools to show their graduates are gainfully employed after graduation or have higher earnings than a typical high school graduate without postsecondary education to continue to get federal financial aid funds, among other new standards. ‘We cannot turn a blind eye to the college programs that are leaving students with mountains of unaffordable debts,’ James Kvaal, the undersecretary of education, said in a press release. ‘The data show that the problem is concentrated at for-profit and career colleges

FAFSA Application: What is the Simplified Needs Test and how important it is for your application process?
MARCA – May 24, 2023
The finances involved in heading to college in the US can be eye-watering and confusing in equal measure. There is a huge amount to consider and for many people, a need to find out what sort of financial aid they could be eligible for in order to help with tuition costs, living costs and food. The FAFSA is the most common way to find out if you can get any sort of financial aid when going to college. The money will not just be handed out, though, so people must prove that they need the help.

BBB Warning: Searching for financial aid options? Be wary of scams
OA Online (Odessa, TX) – May 20, 2023
With average tuition increasing, paying for a college degree continues to be a challenging obstacle to overcome for prospective students. A challenge that is made more difficult by scammers looking to take advantage of students and parents searching for financial aid opportunities. To protect students and parents searching for financial aid opportunities from falling victim to scams, Better Business Bureau recommends following these guidelines:

Career & Technical Education

End discriminatory admissions policies in vocational schools
Commonwealth Journal (MA) – May 21, 2023
Should an 8th-grade student with a low grade-point average and/or low attendance, due to feeling disengaged from the school and curriculum, be excluded from enrolling in a vocational high school even though they may excel in a hands-on carpentry, plumbing, or electrician shop? That is the situation that currently exists in almost all of our regional vocational high schools. In 2003 the MA Board of Education approved admissions regulations that enabled these schools to select students by rank, using grades, attendance, discipline record, counselor recommendations, and interviews. These are public schools. No other public schools in MA, except the examination schools in Boston, have selective admissions policies. And research has found that all these factors can result in bias…

Indiana’s new flexible ‘scholarship accounts’ for career and technical education divide opinion
Chalkbeat – May 22, 2023
A high school senior, Loriann Beckner interns at a hospital through the work-based learning program at Blue River Career Programs. At Blue River she’s learned about financial literacy and career development skills that she says she would not have learned otherwise, in addition to what she learns at the hospital. But the future of Blue River — one of 52 career centers across the state that offers high schoolers academic credits, industry certifications, and more — has been thrown into doubt this year after lawmakers enacted a law that creates Career Scholarship Accounts. These will provide funding for students to pay for internships and apprenticeships with local employers without necessarily relying on current career and technical education programs.

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Teen Health

U.S. Surgeon General: We need to protect kids from social media risks immediately
CNBC – May 23, 2023
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warned in a new advisory Tuesday that widespread social media use among kids and teens poses a significant mental health risk that needs to be addressed immediately. In the latest advisory, Murthy also concedes that social media can have both positive and negative effects on kids. ‘At this time, we do not yet have enough evidence to determine if social media is sufficiently safe for children and adolescents,’ the report says. Even though more research is needed, the surgeon general warns that action can’t wait.